Sandra Dowling

Personal Travel Consultant

Khao Lak 

Devour a delicious curry in a family-run restaurant, chase waterfalls in a national park or nest on soft sands where there’s hardly anyone else around. Khao Lak has everything you need for a low-key holiday; it’s essentially a handful of small town centres and a 15-mile stretch of beaches along one main road. There’s an effortless balance of quiet and convenience, the kind of place visitors slowly fall in love with and return to year after year. If you love the outdoors, Khao Lak is the perfect gateway to both tropical jungles and stunning underwater worlds. Just two hours’ drive or boat ride means you could be snorkelling or diving in the Surin and Similan Islands – the best place for marine life in the Andaman Sea – or trekking through the rainforest of Khao Sok National Park. At Elephant Hills, you can go glamping in the jungle, sleep on a lake to the sound of calling monkeys and get up close with elephants in one of earth’s oldest rainforests. 


Peering out of the plane window, a surprising sight awaits. The word ‘busy’ sums up Phuket nicely. Travellers arrive as though en masse; you only need to step foot in Patong, the original party beach resort, before noticing everyone else. Most first-timers visiting Thailand feel drawn to Phuket and for many, its raucousness is part of its attraction. If you’re curious, you can stroll down one of the main nightclub stretches and watch the spectacle of neon lights, beer bars and dancing, but on an island this big it’s also easy enough to keep away from the hedonism. Stroll around a night market, sampling delicious Thai food and bartering for souvenirs; or spend a day getting into Phuket Town’s growing arts-and-crafts scene. And if you want a dazzling beach with the option of venturing into populated spots when you feel like it, you only need to head 20 minutes north or south down the coast before you find gorgeous, infinitely quieter beaches.  


The hotels in Khao Lak and Phuket are perfectly placed to venture out to restaurants for your meals. Thailand has a great variety of tasty food and the cost for an average meal for 2 people is under £10